Funny, Silly Words No One Really Uses

There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language;  Some are truly bizzare
There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language; Some are truly bizzare | Source

Word Play

Some time in the life of most anyone who plays with words, whether for a living or for fun, certain types of words come to their attention.

I speak, of course, of the good supply of overly long and seldom or never-used words that nonetheless appear in the dictionary. The are fun to read, fun to play with, fun to roll off the tongue, and even fun to attempt using them in a sentence.

These words fall under the definition of "polysyllabic," itself a rather long word, meaning having several syllables.

I've linked some of them to a source for a more detailed definition. You can simply right-click on the links, and select "open in new tab" to keep reading the article, and check out the deeper definitions at your leisure, or you can then easily bounce back and forth between each new definition and the article.

The Words

If I were a gambling type, I’d be willing to lay odds that the first such word most of us encounter is,

antidisestablishmentarianism

It means, according to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged Second Edition, (1973),

“Opposition to the disestablishment of a church or religious body; specifically strong opposition to the disestablishment of a State Church…”

It’s not a word I’ve ever heard anyone use except for the fun of saying it.

The first example is followed by a few other choice goofy, and pretty much useless words. Useless, unless, of course, you need to write a nasty letter, and need a five-dollar word to call someone a blithering idiot, and send them to the dictionary to figure that out! ;-)

Exsibilation

This one you may have experienced for yourself, heard, been present for, or even participated in. Exsibilation refers to the generalized, overall hissing sound of a displeased audience.

It can happen at a theater performance, but I imagine these days, it's more likely to be heard aimed at political speech-makers.

Farctate

Now, this is something I know nearly everyone has experienced at one time or another in their lives.

It refers to being over-stuffed with food from over-eating. I can think of at least one annual holiday at which this happens. Who has never over-indulged at Thanksgiving dinner? Be honest, now!

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

This comes under medical diagnostic terminology. It is an obscure term ostensibly referring to a lung disease caused by silica dust, sometimes cited as one of the longest words in the English language.

Gambrinous

Oh, I just know there are people like this--some daily--some every weekend.

Being 'gambrinous' means full of beer. How many beer-drinkers do you know that have a 'liquid diet' all weekend long?

Gossypiboma

Here's another medical term, and you don't want to hear about this. It's a surgeon's "Ooops!" moment. We don't like to hear "oops" in the operating room, or afterwards.

This means the accidental leaving of a surgical sponge inside the patient's body. Oh, no! Can we say, "malpractice?"

Floccinaucinihilipilification

floccinaucinihilipilification

(approximate pronunciation: floss-i naw-see-ni-hil-i-pill-if-ication) is a really rare word.

Its meaning is, the estimation of something as valueless. It is encountered mainly as an example of one of the longest words in the English language. It is also a deliberately coined word made up by university students trying to be funny. As such, its status as a real word is in dispute.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian

This article discusses exactly this! It means pertaining to extremely long words, and the word describing it also fits the definition.

Gee--some of these would be good fodder for my article on tongue-twisters! Who needs a whole sentence or phrase, when some words stand alone as such?

Sesquipedalian

Sesquipedalian. Using, or tending to use very long words; long, polysyllabic. Obviously related to the word just above, this refers to the person with such a habit, or the act of doing so.

Useful "Big Words" for Kids

Big Words for Little People
Big Words for Little People

A fun book for kids, introducing "big words" that are actually useful, such as "cooperation."

 

Inaniloquent

This is a good one, and applies to so many, many politicians!

"Inaniloquent" refers to the act of saying silly or foolish things. What a great five-dollar word to call a politician out as that blithering idiot!

Mulligrubs

Oh, what a great word discovery! Next time you are feeling low and blue, just say, "I have the mulligrubs."

It is a state of being in low spirits.

Cruciverbalist

Aha!! I've found out what my mother actually was! She was a "cruciverbalist;" a person who loves doing crossword puzzles! She would have loved discovering this word! Who knows; perhaps she did, for she loved word play as much as I do.

And that is the only place you are likely to find many of these words: in crossword puzzles!

The Big Words Poll

Do you like to use big words?

See results without voting

Big Words for Fun

Melcryptovestimentaphilia

Here's a truly weird one--I'd be willing to be very few, if any people have heard this one bandied about.

Melcryptovestimentaphilia is another medical or pseudo-medical term with the general meaning of "a fondness for black female underwear."

It goes deeper than that, but in the interests of Hub Pages protocols, I've edited out the rest of the definition. You can read the details via the link.

Lethologica

Oh, my gosh! This happens to me more and more often as I age!

Lethologica is the inability to recall an exact word for something. How's that for useful?

"I was going to go fix the... um... uh... hmm--I seem to be suffering from lethologica!"

Ultracrepidarian

This is someone who talks about, or offers (usually unsolicited) opinions on matters about which they have no knowledge. Again, this would seem to cover a lot of politicians.

And that goes right along with the next and final entry in this list:

Philosophunculist

This being a person who pretends to know more than they do for the purpose of trying to impress people.

And that wraps up my excursion into goofy, nearly useless words that are nonetheless fun to know about and play with. I hope you've enjoyed the trip.

Now You Are a Know-It-All

At least, you now know more than you ever wanted to know about useless words that lurk in our already confusing-enough English language.

© 2012 DzyMsLizzy

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Comments 13 comments

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Wow those are some long words, thanks for the lesson! I wouldn't want to have to spell those in a spelling bee for the championship.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Wow, Sunshine, you are johnny-on-the-spot with your comment speed! I just barely got this published. Thanks for being the first. I appreciate your comment! Spelling bees..ack! I can spell almost anything--except in a spelling bee; I crack under pressure! ;-)


LABrashear profile image

LABrashear 4 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

What a fun hub. I always like learning new words. I keep a file of unusual words to see if I can ever use them in a story.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Now if we could find a way to use these words in Scrabble!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ LABrashear--hello, there. Thanks very much--I'm glad you enjoyed this bit of fluff. It is fun to attempt using these kinds of words, if only to watch the expression on someone's face. Are they pretending to understand, and trying to out-bluff you, or totally blown away in abject confusion? LOL

@ Millionaire Tips--hahaha.. good one! Too bad Scrabble only allows 7 tiles per player! You'd definitely have to play a "house rules" version, with all the tiles in the draw pile right-side-up, to see who could grab the best ones for the biggest words. Come to think of it, I don't think some of these would even fit on the playing board! Thanks very much for your comment.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

LOL!!! Lizzy this was awesome - I'm still trying to pronounce the words even after a few attempts, but will keep working on it. The word 'floccinaucinihilipilification' might have been made up by students, but I think its a fantastic word and should be recognised as a work of genius!

A really refreshing and enjoyable hub + voted up!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, Seeker7--

Thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed this jaunt down Pedantry Lane. :-D

Let's see--the new "f" word, in a sentence:

"I find the politicians' floccinaucinihilipilification of the "99%" to be insulting and aggravating in the extreme."

(Betcha didn't think I could do it! Hee hee)

Thanks for the vote!


Jessi10 profile image

Jessi10 4 years ago from Lancaster, CA

This was one funny, and useful Hub! I really did learn a lot! Thank you for writing it!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello again, Jessi10--

Thanks very much for all your visits and comments. I'm pleased to be able to provide a chuckle now and then...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I wonder if anyone ever really uses those words in a sentence? I voted this up and funny though humorous would have been better. Fun to read though.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, tillsontitan,

I can tell you that if my mother was still living, she'd sure try to put them into sentences, if only just for fun, as I did in a comment reply above; we were both word-play geeks. ;-)

I recall one of her stories from high school, when they had a homework assignment to use the spelling and vocabulary words in sentences....so, she sat down this one time, and managed to write a single sentence using all of the words in the list! :-D

Thanks so much for stopping by--I'm so pleased you enjoyed the article, and thanks for the votes!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

Learning about these long words is one thing but trying to pronounce them is another! Ha! Up votes and will share.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 20 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Peggy!

Pronunciation is key! Hahaha.. I'm lucky, I can figure out how to pronounce nearly any word...which is problematic when they tell you that you should not eat any food with ingredients you can't pronounce! LOL Glad you enjoyed the article, and many thanks for the votes and share!

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